The last 72 hours were chock full of signs that the Ottawa Senators can most definitely beat the odds and clinch a playoff berth in 2023.
First, they take on the Detroit Red Wings, a team in front of them in the standings, in a back-to-back, and from start to finish, it was like they were insulted by the fact that they play in the same league.
Complete annihilation. They practically forced Steve Yzerman to sell off Filip Hronek and Tyler Bertuzzi in a matter of days. Brady Tkachuk literally flexed on Jake Walman.
You’ve heard the phrase “touchdown” to describe a team scoring seven goals, but when media personalities are making allusions to tennis to describe hockey games, you’ve reached a whole new level.
#Sens beat Detroit in straight sets.— Kyle Bukauskas (@SNkylebukauskas) March 1, 2023
And we haven’t even begun to peak. Because Pierre Dorion understands that most of the teams down the stretch are better than the Detroit Red Wings, he had to go out and make a key addition, not just for this season, but for the foreseeable future in which the Sens will be a contending team in the league. Kind of showing up Brady in the process, too. Sure, the captain can flex on other players, but Pierre just flexed on the Arizona Coyotes, who, technically speaking anyway, are an entire team.
Tonight, Jakob Chychrun* and the Ottawa Senators take on the New York Rangers.
Comfortably in a playoff spot, and having finally put a respectable defense corps in front of Igor Shesterkin, the Rangers are a much better all-around team than before, and still feature that high-end forward talent — including Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and new addition Patrick Kane.
Because the Rangers played yesterday, they’ll start Jaroslav Halak in goal tonight. Furthermore, K’Andre Miller, one of their better blueliners, will serve the second of a three-game suspension for unsportsmanlike conduct against Los Angeles Kings’ defenceman and Norris trophy thief Drew Doughty. It’s a tremendous opportunity for the Sens to get to within spitting distance of a playoff berth.
On top of it all, the Rangers appear to be falling victim to some NHL rules shenanigans today:
Rangers deemed ineligible by league for emergency recall, with Lindgren still out and Miller under suspension. Will go 12+5 tonight v Ottawa in Kane's debut.— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) March 2, 2023
Lines will remain the same as against Detroit, with Cam Talbot likely to get the start, and with no word on if or with whom Chychrun (still can’t believe it happened, you guys) will play.
Morning skate lines from NYC.— TSN 1200 (@TSN1200) March 2, 2023
(Chychrun not present)
Tkachuk Stützle Giroux
Debrincat Pinto Batherson
Joseph Gambrell Gauthier
Brassard Kastelic Watson
- Derick Brassard skates in his 1000th game tonight. It’s a fantastic achievement for a veteran scorer turned depth player, to have done so on ten different teams. The game taking place in New York makes it all the more special./
- After a bit of a rough patch, Tim Stützle got his groove back, with a four-point effort on the back-to-back. The biggest source of optimism for the entire top-six is that the team’s 5-on-5 shooting percentage is still ridiculously low compared to the obvious level of talent. This has been going up during the team’s 9-3-1 stretch and will continue to do so.
- Don’t forget about the bottom six! Dylan Gambrell, Austin Watson, and Mark Kastelic have been dynamite recently but the group has struggled overall and will need to put in a few more of those recent efforts to give Ottawa a shot. Watson in particular was a detriment for most of last season but closed things out with 10 points in 16 games, so a late-season surge would be nothing new.
- Tonight’s a 7:00 pm EST start and you can watch the game on RDS and TSN5, or listen on TSN 1200./
|Brady Tkachuk, Tim Stutzle
|Time on Ice/GP
|Penalty Kill %
|Corsi % (5v5 SVA)
|xGF % (5v5 SVA)